POLITICAL Science junior John Carlo Pacala won this year’s Rector’s Literary Award (RLA) for his Katha entry, “Liham,” during the 27th Gawad Ustetika last Dec. 3 at the Quadricentennial Park.

Pacala won the RLA in the face of a rather depleted arena of competition as there were no first-place winners in five out of eight categories. So depleted was the field that there was no winner declared in the Fiction category, not even an honorable mention.

Earlier, Pacala was proclaimed Tomasinong Kuwentista ng Taon for “Liham,” about the personal letters of a correctional prisoner to her mother.

“I didn’t expect to win RLA because I used vulgar and curse words for the story,” Pacala said. “I am really happy since it’s my first time to join Ustetika.”

The RLA is chosen by the UST Rector Magnificus himself from among the first prize winners as the work that best reflects “the Catholic vision of grace and redemption.”

Financial Management senior Abbygayle Estrella from the College of Commerce won the second prize in Katha for “Ang Pagtaba ni Lala M. Payat,” while Political Science senior April Anne Dizon won third prize for “Kagawaran ng mga Nawawalang Pagkatayo.” Accountancy senior Melody Rose Apple Marquez was given an honorable mention for “On the Way.”

Meanwhile, the Poetry first prize has been renamed the Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta Award in honor of the well-loved UST poetess-teacher who died November 2010. The prize was won by Patricia Mariya Shishikura, Literature junior, for her entry, “Going South”.

“This is the first time that I joined the Ustetika, I could not help but burst into tears,” Shishikura said. “I could not believe it, knowing that the judges were Gemino Abad, Angelo Suarez, and Carlomar Daoana—it just felt so surreal to receive such a prestigious award.”

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There was no second place winner but Painting student Jerry Balantucas from the College of Fine Arts and Design won the third prize for “Poet’s Cookbook” tied with Literature senior Zendy Victoria Sue’s “All this talk of souls that have sailed on”, while Gabriel Edilberto Cruz, fifth year Music, won as honorable mention for “Barefoot and Other Poems”.

Results in the other categories:

Dulang May Isang Yugto. No first prize. Journalism senior Renz Lyndon Paguio’s “Bunyi” (second prize); Communication Arts junior Francisco Gian Paulo Cabuena’s “Comfort Zone” (third); Literature senior John Andrew Del Prado’s “Kung Hindi man, Kundiman” and Asian Studies sophomore Maria Kristina Magno’s “Pula, Berde, Asul, Dilaw na mga Lobo” (honorable mention).

Sanaysay. Political science senior, April Dizon’s “Resume” (second); Journalism senior Laira Contreras’ “Dahil Ubos na Naman ang Gravy” (third).

Tula. No major winners. Literature major Jeremiah Jan Agustin’s “Platonic Ugong,” Architecture student Bernadette Anillo’s “Pagluwas, Communication Arts major Alyssa Ronielle Manalo’s “Lupa,” (all honorable mention) .

One- Act Play. No major winners. Literature senior John Andrew Del Prado’s for “Monologous in the Dark” (honorable mention).

Essay. Literature junior Micah Andres’s “My Father Was a Poet Once” (first); Literature senior Zendy Victoria Sue Valencia’s “X-Sight” (second); Literature senior Edmark Tan’s “The Road Warrior” (third); and Literature senior Bernardine Sytiong’s “Closing Door”.

Aside from Abad, Doana and Suarez, jurors this year were: Rebecca Añonuevo, Victor Emmanuel Nadera Jr., and Rosmon Tuazon (Tula); Mario Miclat, Dean Francis Alfar, and Paolo Enrico Melendez (Fiction); Luna Sicat-Cleto, Jun Cruz Reyes, and Eros Atalia (Katha), Jose Wendell Capili, Gary Devilles, and Oscar Campomanes (Essay); Romulo Baquiran, Jr., Abdon Balde, and Michael Coroza (Sanaysay); Jose Victor Torres, Ralph Galan, and Glenn Mas (One-act play and Dula na May Isang Yugto).

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The Parangal Hagbong, the lifetime achievement award given to Thomasian men and women of letters, was given to literary historian and cultural scholar Florentino Hornedo, who lectures at the UST Graduate School.

The Hagbong was also given posthumously to polyglot poetic genius Federico Licsi Espino, Jr., who died early this year.

Hornedo received a trophy designed by the late artist Romeo Forbes while Espino’s kin received on his behalf a trophy designed by artist Roen Capule.



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